Contactless payment cards used for one million bus journeys in London

10 April 2013  •  Source: TfL

One million bus journeys in London have now been paid for using a contactless debit, credit or charge card. This is an encouraging sign to Transport for London (TfL) that Londoners are keen to make the most of this easy and convenient way to pay for their travel.

In the four months since the launch of contactless payments on buses on 13 December 2012 the number of people using their contactless payment card has continued to rise each week. From 2,061 people making 2,586 journeys paid for on their contactless payment card on the first day in December, up to 10,000 people are now making as many as 16,000 journeys each day.

The option of paying a bus fare using a contactless payment card means that instead of fumbling for change or finding their Oyster card has run out of credit, bus passengers are able to use the contactless payment card they already have in their pocket to pay their fare. It is part of TfL’s focus on improving customers’ experience of travelling in the capital.

Around 1,000 new contactless payment cards are touched on to the readers on London’s 8,500 buses each day, indicating that it isn’t just the same people each week who are choosing the convenience of paying their fares this way. The take-up is encouraging as plans progress for the roll out of contactless payments on to the Tube, DLR, London Overground and trams at the end of the year. Daily price capping does not apply to current bus users of contactless payment cards, but once the technology is rolled out to the wider transport network daily and weekly price capping will be introduced.

Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, said: “Paying for a bus fare should be as easy as buying a sandwich. Enabling customers to use their contactless payment card on the buses removes the inconvenience of needing to top up an Oyster card or dig around for cash before making a journey. It is fantastic that we’ve already seen a million bus journeys made using a contactless payment cards and it’s a great sign that our customers are keen to benefit from this technology. We are now working hard to roll contactless payments out to the rest of the transport network.”

Charlie Craven, VP, Emerging Product Development, American Express, said: “Consumers want to be able to choose how they pay for goods and services and the take-up of contactless payments shows that people in London are really getting on board with the ‘touch and go’ technology. It’s great that our UK card members with American Express-branded contactless cards can, and are, benefiting from fast and convenient fare payments when boarding TfL buses.”

Marion King, Division President, MasterCard UK & Ireland, said: “MasterCard is proud to have supported TfL in achieving this key milestone in the rollout of contactless payments. With the introduction last year of the ‘touch and go’ technology on London buses there is now yet another new way in which cardholders can safely and securely use their MasterCard to make life easier. Contactless is a vital contributor to achieving our vision of a world beyond cash. In the world of public transport, this means making passengers lives easier by enabling them to move around seamlessly and without having to stop and ‘top up’. We are excited about building on our partnership to enable more safe and secure ways to pay on the TfL network.”

Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President at Visa Europe, said: “Today’s milestone is further validation that contactless payment is a convenience consumers really appreciate. We’re seeing a corresponding growth in the use of contactless cards across the UK; £33 million was spent on Visa contactless cards in February, and the number of transactions has grown by 25 per cent in the last quarter to reach 4.5 million every month.”

Nicholas Clements, Barclaycard Managing Director for UK Consumer Cards, said: “In the past year we’ve seen a dramatic uplift in the adoption of contactless technology as both consumers and retailers recognise it is an easy and convenient way to pay. Contactless bus fares also offer the exact cost-equivalent alternative to a single bus journey on an Oyster card and Barclaycard offers a 100 per cent guarantee against fraud.”

The top five bus routes for contactless payments over the last eight weeks have been route 38 from Clapton Pond to Victoria, route 73 from Victoria to Stoke Newington, route 55 from Leyton to Oxford Circus, route 243 from Wood Green to Waterloo and route 149 from Edmonton Green to London Bridge.

The top five bus stops where passengers have boarded and touched in with their contactless payment card over the last eight weeks have been London Bridge/Duke Street Hill, Angel Station/Duncan Street, Tottenham Court Road Station/New Oxford Street, King’s Cross Station/Euston Road and Shoreditch High Street/Bethnal Green Road.

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